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> > FINALLY some trout fishing - not great but it's a start

Report at a Glance

General RegionNE lower Michigan
Specific LocationRifle River
Time of Day2:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Fish Caught1 brown trout and 1 rainbow trout, both about 8"
Conditions & HatchesSunny, winds gusting to about 10-15 mph, water high, tannin-stained, much silt & debris; insects sparse, 1 Red Quill, maybe 3 BWOs, 1 caddis, midges, and LOTS of mosquitoes! Beautiful marsh marigolds blooming along the banks

Details and Discussion

Jmd123May 22nd, 2014, 10:14 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2351
Well, it had to happen sometime. I've been dealing with cold rainy weather, high winds, and the head cold from hell which has tried it's very best to turn into an ear infection (or allergies??). Today I said I need to just power on through it and go out on at least an initial recon. So I drove out to the Rifle, an hour each way but worth it, I pulled an 18-inch brown out of this particular spot last September. Well, I got in there today and wondered if it was even safe to wade! There's a good hole in the first bend and it got within a few inches of the top of my chest waders, the gravel was a bit on the loose side, and I started wondering if I was going to take a swim today! I didn't, but let me tell you, it was a serious workout wading upstream against that current, like climbing a mountain with a headwind! The water was high, fast, murky, tannin-stained, and carrying a fair amount of finer plant materials, which made me wonder if my dry flies would even get noticed.

Well, as luck would have it, a couple of smallish trout, first a brown and then a rainbow, responded to searching with a #12 tannish/brown EHC, so at least I didn't get skunked on my very first outing! Funny things happened: when I was fighting the first fish a second fish of similar size and color began chasing it! I was going to take a picture of my very first trout of the season but messed around with it for too long and it popped off. I didn't even know I had the second fish on until I pulled the fly out from under some brush and thought I was snagged, then no, there's something alive on the other end! After the first two fish I was excited, but no more were forthcoming, the rest of the stream was just dead, no risers and next to no flies. Except for the cloud of mosquitoes around my head the whole time! Damned things just know when the tourists are about to show up...perhaps a #16 Mosquito pattern? I think they were the most numerous insects I saw today, and I have a couple packages of moose mane for tying the striped bodies...

Anyway, it sure felt good to get out and catch at least a couple of little guys. This weekend the place will be pounded by tourists, lots of drunk canoers and kayakers and tubers, but the fishing pressure will be largely worm-dunkers and hardware-slingers. Leaving the rest of the fly-dumb for me, and our hatches haven't even started yet!

Beautiful bouquets of marsh marigolds were blooming along the banks of the river, adding to the charm of one fisherman's first yearly pursuit of trout. And I can honestly say, given what I experienced today, I haven't missed much of anything yet this year by waiting until now. Anything over what I saw today would not be safe wading!!


P.S. At the end of my fishing I snagged my EHC in a dead tree, whereupon I noticed one of my very own #12 White Wulffs hanging from the same tree by a piece of tippet! "Dang it, I can get that one back", and by careful manipulation with my rod tip, I did indeed knock the fly down and got it back! "The river giveth, and the river taketh away...", but sometimes the river giveth back!

P.P.S. There were also some steelhead on their beds in the river today. I tossed a couple of flies at them, including one of my eyed POG Buggers, and they either ignored them or actually got out of the way when the saw them coming downstream at them. I got pretty close to these fish, in fact when they left their redds and came downstream they were within a rod length of me! Would have been pretty wild to hook one on the 3-weight, but then again, I once landed a 19 1/2" smallmouth on this rod...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutMay 22nd, 2014, 10:32 pm
Posts: 319
Sounds like an excellent day on the water. Sometimes it's the trips where you don't expect much of anything but still get a few that are the most fun.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
BrookymanMay 23rd, 2014, 12:42 am
Posts: 797
Very nice dude. My water on the main system was the same but my hatch's were of the chain. I guess they felt safe hatching today cause nobody but me cared.

That's why I decide to check out my tributary just to see what is going on and OMG wow was I surprised to see all my little friends. Go team Brookie :-)

Banned for threatening another user and then trying to circumvent a kinder "soft" ban with fake accounts
Jmd123May 23rd, 2014, 7:29 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2351
I hit the Pine today and saw a lot more insects, a fair number of gray and some tan caddisflies about #12-16, a few BWOs in #16, something similar but distinctly brownish, and an occasional Light Hendrickson. I kept trying to conjure up a good hatch - c'mon guys, it's mating season, let's all emerge! But NO FISH - not enough numbers to bring them up, and the water is also high, fast, stained, and carrying some slit and debris. Habitat is changing out there too, with some deeper holes looking like the are getting sanded in, shifting logs, new backwaters, etc. No response to either a #10 POG Bugger or a #10 brown/bronze KBF either. Nice warm partly sunny day, marsh marigolds lighting up the banks along with occasional violets.

Guess it needs a little more warming up...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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